Scott Emmerman, Spheres Review

Scott Emmerman's Spheres Unites Jazz Fusion and Global Sounds


Scott Emmerman, Spheres Review

Scott Emmerman’s Spheres Unites Jazz Fusion and Global Sounds

by Ferell Aubre

Scott-Emmerman-cdSpheres by Scott Emmerman, self-released on October 15, 2023, offers Emmerman’s creative sounds in the jazz-fusion domain. Recorded in the vibrant season of spring 2023, the album is a continuation and expansion of the jazz-rock foundation initially laid by its predecessor, Rogers Park. Emmerman’s eclectic instrumental abilities, highlighted by his roles on guitar, keyboards, bass, and drum programming, coalesces with Marty Zevin’s dynamic drumming and Larry Nelson’s spirited piano on the track “Roanoke.” This lineup crafts an auditory canvas that is diverse and sophisticated for fusion lovers that lean to the electronic side.

Spheres is a collection of ten tracks with a deliberate narrative crafted through Emmerman’s evolving musical journey. From his bluesy roots to expansive jazz and fusion vistas, his influences are woven into each composition, creating many textures and sounds. The inclusion of the instrumental cover of The Gap Band’s “Yearning for Your Love” serves as a centerpiece, brilliantly reinterpreting this classic within a contemporary jazz-fusion context, thereby showcasing Emmerman’s agility in melding past influences with modern sensibilities.

The album opens with the title track “Spheres,” where Emmerman integrates acoustic and electric guitars, producing a soundscape reminiscent of the late-period Yardbirds sprinkled with South Asian influences. The track “Roanoke” features a compelling interplay between Nelson’s piano and Emmerman’s guitar, enhancing the track’s bluesy undertones and showcasing a guitar solo that perfectly balances taste with flair.

Further highlights include “KC Blues,” a melody-rich concoction of soul and light jazz, and “California Roll,” which exudes a bluesy swing vibe accentuated by Emmerman’s clean, fast guitar picking during his soloing. “Judgement Day” deepens the album’s texture, blending rich bass lines with fusion influences, underscoring the palpable chemistry between Emmerman and Zevin.

Spheres embarks on a dialogue that spans the globe. It particularly shines on tracks like the eponymous “Spheres,” where the rhythmic complexity of Indian tablas meets Western guitar riffs, illustrating Emmerman’s exposure and responsiveness to global musical traditions. This album not only navigates through various musical landscapes but also contributes a fresh perspective within the jazz-rock fusion genre, enriching it with elements of world music and R&B.

The songs feels range from the introspective melodies of “Emerald Isle” to the buoyant rhythms of “California Roll.” This narrative arc mimics a musical journey reflective of Emmerman’s personal and artistic evolution, showcasing his ability to command a wide emotional spectrum through his compositions.

From a technical standpoint, Emmerman’s multifaceted musicianship and sound engineering expertise are evident. The fusion of synthetic and organic sounds in the album’s production, overseen by Emmerman and Zevin, ensures clarity and depth—vital for the intricate layers that define jazz-fusion.

Spheres underscores Scott Emmerman’s continued evolution as a guitarist and composer in the jazz-rock fusion narrative. This album, rich with musical landscapes and compositions, comes recommended for jazz fusion fans that appreciate great guitar playing, keyboards and synths, and mixing of programed and organic sounds.

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